Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

Anne M. Eberhardt

Churchill Downs to Offer HD Simulcasting

Churchill Downs will offer simulcasting in high definition for its upcoming fall meet

Churchill Downs will offer simulcasting in high definition when it opens its 2008 fall meet on Oct. 26, the track has announced. The HD signal will be rolled out progressively to select off-track betting locations and racetracks across the nation, as well as on-track in a variety of public areas.

A statement released Oct. 20 by Churchill Downs claims it is the first racetrack in the United States to offer HD simulcasting.
Churchill’s high-definition simulcast will present live racing in full 16:9 HD format, offering customers a larger and clearer view of the race itself, according to the release. In addition, on-screen graphics and racing information will be presented in high definition within the 16:9 format, allowing for additional and enhanced wagering information for both the on-track and simulcasting customer.

More than 100 HD monitors on-track at Churchill Downs will benefit from the high-definition signal. Those televisions will be spread throughout the facility in both luxury seating locations and areas open to the general public. Locations include the Silks and Champions Club Lounges near the ITW area, the Jockey Club and first-floor Jockey Club, the Turf Club, Gold Rooms 2 and 6, the Finish Line Suites lobby, and the Directors, Stakes and Aristides Rooms inside the clubhouse.

Churchill Downs said it is also working with select OTBs and racetracks across the country to provide the technology needed to take advantage of high-definition simulcasts. Installation of the necessary components is currently underway, and a full list of locations offering the Churchill meet in HD will be forthcoming.
The 2008 Fall Meet at Churchill Downs will also be offered in a typical standard-definition format for facilities without HD technology in place.
“Today’s announcement is just the first step in what we hope will be a continuing process of HD upgrades, expansions and improvements for our customers,” Tom Jenkins, vice president for Churchill Downs Inc., said in the release. “We’re also open to any interest from other simulcast outlets that may want to offer the Churchill Downs signal in high definition. We’re looking forward to receiving and acting upon feedback from our customers to continue improving their experience at the races.”

For nearly a year, Churchill Downs has worked with several technology providers to make its high-definition transition possible. Key among those is Roberts Communications Network, which helped devise a system to deliver HD simulcasts to OTBs in a manner that works with their existing television infrastructure. Two other major providers are International Sound Corp., which will provide the new high-definition graphics package with enhanced wagering information, and Thomson Grass Valley, which was chosen to provide the Kayak digital video production switcher and LDK 4000 mk II high-definition camera.